STC In-Body Clip Filter – Inserting Filters Right Between Lens and Sensor

STC Clip Filters are filter inserts designed for use between camera’s sensor and the lens. There are ND filters in various strengths, Astro filter and infrared filter inserts available. Many DSLR and mirrorless cameras are supported and more are coming soon.

ND filters are a vital component when filming – even on bright sunny days, filmmakers want to stay close to the standard 180 degrees shutter angle for the right motion blur without compromising on the shallow depth of field too. That is impossible to achieve without a light-limiting ND filter. Since the filmmaking world started massively using DSLRs and mirrorless cameras without the internal ND filters known from classic video cameras, there have been few workarounds for that.

Naturally, the first option how to limit light entering the sensor on DSLR or mirrorless body is a classic circular threaded filter screwed in front of the lens. That can work just fine for many scenarios, but not every time. Using these filters makes lens changing longer as the filter needs to be switched to the new lens as well. It gets even more complicated when the lenses have different filter thread sizes. Moreover, for some ultra-wide angle or fisheye lenses, it is impossible to use a front filter without vignetting.

STC Clip Filter Inserts

It appears Taiwanese company STC Optics can offer a solution for such situations. Their STC Clip Filters are specially designed filter inserts made to be used between a camera’s sensor and the lens. Right now, the filter inserts are available for Canon full-frame and APS-C DSLR bodies, Nikon full-frame DSLR bodies, as well as for the Sony a7 series mirrorless cameras. A full list of currently supported cameras can be found here. Inserts for other bodies are in development and coming soon (we have been told in about one or two months) – namely for the new Canon EOS and Nikon full-frame mirrorless cameras, Sony APS-C line, Fujifilm APS-C bodies, micro four-thirds bodies, and even FUJIFILM medium format bodies.

As I mentioned, the main advantage of the STC clip filters should be no vignetting or color shift in peripheral areas for ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses. Mounting and removing the clip filter should be quick and easy. The material used for the filter glass frame is black anodized 304 stainless steel which is virtually non-magnetic and less brittle at low temperatures. The STC clip filters feature high-quality double-sided NANO anti-smudge coating, which is waterproof and grease-proof.

The line-up of clip filters includes ND filters (ND16 ND64, ND400, and ND1000), Astro filter, and an infrared filter UV-IR CUT filter. Note that, when using the clip filters with a DSLR body, only Live View mode will be available as the mirror needs to stay lifted to make place for the insert. The clip filters are available either separately or in sets.

Although we were told STC clip filters are safe, I am personally a bit concerned. I can imagine a scenario when the clip filter insert slips out of my hand during inserting and hits the sensor causing some damage. I also think there could be an increased amount of dust on mirrorless cameras’ sensors when putting things between the sensor and lens.

What do you think of STC clip filters? Does a product like this fit in your workflow? How do you limit light entering the sensor on mirrorless and DSLR bodies? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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Ed Hecht
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Ed Hecht

A niche need/want, I know. But I have been waiting for something like this for converted full spectrum cameras, where use of filterless fisheye lenses is precluded… I expect these to be knocked off for cheaper soon enough though…

Kendrick Satterfield
Member
Kendrick Satterfield

The only time I see this being practical is for filters that will stay there permanently, or at very least an entire day of shooting. So like color correcting filters for instance. Otherwise changing ND’s on set would be a complete nightmare. There have been plenty of times where the DP has called for a .3, I’ve dropped it in, and he/she changes their mind and we pull it. That would never fly with these.

Additionally, how’s this going to pan out with mixing glass? The DP’s I know already have their preferred ND’s, usually Schneider. So throwing a color correcting SCT on the sensor then putting Schneider ND’s in the matte box would certainly throw off the look of the Schneiders.

Kerrin Sheldon
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Kerrin Sheldon

Woah pretty cool. If nothing else, it proves you can fit an ND filter in these small cameras. If companies could make an electronic ND filter (like FS5) that can do zero ND, you’re done right there.

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